Minimum bow weight for NFAS HT

Discussion in '3D & Field Archery' started by Ned, Feb 9, 2015.

  1. Ned

    Ned New Member

    Having just returned to shooting after a long gap, I am looking to buy a bow to shoot field rounds: the club I am intending to join is traditionalist (wooden arrows, no metal risers) so I am going to go down the HT route. I started using my old bow (a very old Greenkat T/D 66" target bow, 37# @ 28) but it has just delaminated on the lower limb: I had intended to use it to get back in form before buying a new bow but that's not possible now. For the record, I draw a tad over 26.5 inches, so I suppose I was drawing about 34# on the old bow and was finding that quite acceptable (no shakes on longish holds etc.). My question is,what is the lightest weight one could get away with (at least for a year or so) & have enough power to have a chance at completing a round without too many problems at the longer distances ? Most of the field bows on offer seem to go by 5# increments, so I would be choosing either 35# or 40#. I know I will need to work a lot on my form after a 20 year absence, but equally I would like to have a bow that can do the business. Is 35# (i.e. about 32# at my draw length) enough? Too much? Also, what length bow do people recommend: I see field bows seem to vary between 58" & 64". Thanks in advance.
  2. Black Sun

    Black Sun New Member

    I'm assuming you're talking field recurves here... that being so a friend of mine joined our club about 6months ago, he's gone H/T route. His draw length is about 27" (maybe 27.5" not sure) and he shoots off the shelf - bow weight is 35# (its a Samick Lion if that helps, 60" in length). For the most part he is fine with this weight.... as you'd expect he does have to aim higher at the longer range targets, but our longest is about 56yards - he can shoot this far without too much difficulty (he doesn't always hit the target at this range mind!). Most NFAS targets are up to 40 or so yards so you should be ok with a 35# bow until you get back into the swing of it...a 40# bow is better in terms of getting longer shots more consistently but don't overbow yourself to begin with. If some of those longer shots have vegetation at awkward places you might have a bit of difficulty hitting targets due to the angle you have to aim at (hint: you don't always have to stand in a standard way, going down on one knee is acceptable and can give you those few extra inches clearance).

    As for bow length.... depends on a number of things - the shorter bows tend to have smaller windows on the riser, which in itself can cause problems (for example I shoot a 50# black swan, 62" in length... the riser window is about 3 1/2" - short shots can be a right pain and I normally end up canting the bow slightly so I can see the target). A number of target archers may bring up things like finger pinch with shorter bows (especially if like me you are over 6') .... whilst I appreciate the point, in fairness short field bows are generally quite good these days when it comes to this aspect. Shorter bows are much more unforgiving of form however so if I wouldn't go shorter than a 60" bow and if you can, a 62-64" might be better for you in the beginning. A slightly longer bow may (or may not) draw a little smoother but that's something you'd have to determine with whatever bow you go with (what are you looking at by the way?)

    By the way - I also shoot H/T so I am biased when I would say stick with the wooden arrows :) but in the interests of balance......another friend of mine is shooting a 26# bow barebow with metal arrows (x7's I think) and since the metal arrows are much lighter he can also get the further targets without too many issues. Point being.... you could use a lighter bow and go down the BB route if you didn't mind using metals or carbon arrows.

    hope that helps
  3. Del the Cat

    Del the Cat New Member

    35# is a sensible minimum.
    30# at a pinch if its a modern glass/carbon recurve.
  4. Ned

    Ned New Member

    thank you, that's very helpful. The bows I've been looking at include Samick (SHB or Lion), Penthalon Navajo (I believe connected with Bodnik) , and the Buck Trail Cougar. There's also a chance of a second-hand Blackbrook Hawk bow (34# @ 28, 64"): dearer than the rest, but I imagine a lovely bow & I would probably lose no more on resale than I would reselling the cheaper bows. Any views on these?

  5. Black Sun

    Black Sun New Member

    No problem Ned :) - I've no experience with the SHB but I hear fairly good things about it, Samick generally know what they are doing so whilst it might not set your world on fire, it'll do what you need it to whilst you're finding your feet again. The Lion is, I imagine, pretty much the same (I've had a play with my friends Lion - sounds wrong but you know what I mean!) , it does draw smoothly up to my draw length which is just shy of 29" so you'd be fine with it. The handle is I feel a tiny bit on the large side but I am used to my Black swan which has a very skinny riser so I am probably biased on that. The Lion is however to my ears a little too 'twangy' - this is an unfair judgement on my part for a sub £200 bow as my Black Swan is extremely quiet, its also possible that my friend could do with increasing his brace height a little but he seems happy with the BH as is. Certainly the twanginess is nothing that can't be cured by some silencer puffs so don't let that put you off.

    Again never shot a Penthalon so can't really say anything about those from personal experience but loads of people like them from the look of the reviews on the web. Also never shot a Buck Trail Cougar but if it's anything like a Buck trail Antelope (which I do own - its 40# and makes for a nice simple back to basics kind of field bow) then I'd doubt you'd go far wrong with it - my Antelope, draws smoothly and to my ears is much quieter than my friends Lion. Whilst you would have to pry my Black Swan out of my dead hands before you could shoot it, the Antelope is a fantastic little bow and it still baffles me how they sell it so cheaply.

    Having said all of that.... again I don't have a Blackbrook Hawk and therefore have no direct experience of this specific model, I do however have a Blackbrook Hunter. I still prefer shooting my Black Swan over the Hunter but, put it this way.... its a close run choice! Andy Soars knows what he is doing with a piece of wood - if its a reasonable price and not too old I would seriously consider the Hawk - try it if you can before buying (as with everything where possible).

    Ultimately its going to come down to what you are happy to part with dollars wise and what your experience with the bows are (assuming you can shoot a few arrows from each before you by) but all of what you've been looking at are good choices for getting back into the swing of things.... enjoy yourself shopping! :D
  6. Riceburner

    Riceburner New Member

    Depends very much on how good your shooting is really.

    Carol Edwards won national comps with a 30lb (maybe 28lb?) longbow - it's very much what you do with it that counts. I used to use an '80s era 32lb wooden takedown (think Samick Polaris) for field and barebow target and it was perfectly capable of hitting a target at 100yards once I got reasonable at shooting it without sights.

    At this point I'd say buy something that is relatively low-price but capable, but - more importantly - that feels right to you. So - get thee down to a shop with a range for a day and test out everything that appeals! (but set yourself a sensible budget!! ;) ).

    As said as well - ally arrows will remove the 'inconsistency' of woods for a short period and help you settle into the new sport. (doesn't matter what the rest of the club shoot - you shoot what YOU want to).

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